Drug Prices in Ads
Pharmaceutical companies like Amgen Inc, Merk & Co, Eli Lilly and Co, as well as the Association of National Advertisers, filed a lawsuit Friday, May 14th against the Trump Administration regarding the new CMS final rule that would go in to effect in July. This rule, we reviewed in a previous blog, states that television ads must now include drug prices, as well as the FDA rule to list all possible side effects during an ad. This rule is set to take effect in July.
The concern from drugmakers is that the final list price does not accurately reflect what the patient may actually pay after insurance payments and other discounts are applied. They have gone so far as to state, “…the rule raise(s) serious freedom of speech concerns…”
Drug companies also state they feel this may prevent patients from seeking out medications they may truly need to stay healthy.
HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said, “If the drug companies are embarrassed by their prices or afraid that the prices will scare patients away, they should lower them.” This is the entire point behind the new final rule.
What drug companies are overlooking is a key part of the rule: Drug companies are allowed to include verbiage that would indicate insurance coverage and discounts that could change the price paid by the patient. One pharmaceutical company has gotten ahead of the rule by adding a guideline of the total cost of the drug, with the amount patients may have to pay in bold. This was added within a week of the final rule being announced, showing that this final rule may not be as difficult as drugmakers make it out to be.
We will continue to watch this final rule as it is set to go into effect in just a few weeks. What do you think about CMS’s fair pricing in advertising rule?